Renewed Interest In Space, Lunar Explorations
Japan's space agency today launched its much-delayed lunar probe in the most ambitious mission to the moon since the US Apollo space flights.
The Selenological and Engineering Explorer Ã¢â¬â€ or Selene Ã¢â¬â€ probe was launched on board an H-2A rocket from Tanegashima, the remote island location of the agency's space centre.
Japan's mission comes at a time of renewed interest in the moon. China plans to send a probe, the Chang'e 1 to the moon, possibly this month.
The Chang'e 1 orbiter will use stereo cameras and x-ray spectrometers to map three-dimensional images of the lunar surface and study its dust.
China's official Xinhua news agency has reported that a manned probe could be launched within 15 years. Japan is also considering a manned mission by 2025.
Meanwhile, Google has launched a $20m (ÃÂ£9.9m) competition to send a robotic mission to the moon. To claim the prize, a team of researchers will need to send a rover to the moon, make it roam for a minimum of 500 metres and send video, images and data back to Earth, all before December 31 2012.
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India's unmanned probe
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Everybody else want to go to space too..